|“A man with a heart big enough to love all of God’s children” might well describe Rev. Harry E. Ezell. As Superintendent of the Methodist Children’s Home in Ruston, he was far more than an administrator. He was a father, adviser, and personal friend to hundreds of boys and girls who were cared for by the Home in the thirteen years he served there.
Born in a Methodist parsonage in Jarbalo, Kansas, on June 12, 1918, he spent his early life in a number of towns in Missouri where his father served as pastor. His career began as a teacher, starting in a one-room country school and later teaching in both elementary and high schools. He served for several years as an elementary school principal in North Kansas City, Missouri. In 1953 he entered the full-time ministry in the Missouri Conference of the Methodist Church. He came to Louisiana in 1958 when he was appointed Director of MacDonnell Methodist Center in Houma, Louisiana. In 1960 he became Superintendent of the Methodist Children’s Home in Ruston, Louisiana. While serving in this capacity he helped organize the first Advisory Board for the State Department of Public Welfare. In 1960 he was appointed to repre-sent the State of Louisiana at the White House Conference on Children and Youth held in Washington, D.C.
Something of what he meant to the children in the Home is revealed by these excerpts from among the scores of letters received by his family from those who had been reared in the Home: “Reverend Ezell was a wonderful person. I will never forget the kindness he has shown to all of the children that he was responsible for. So maybe now it was the time God decided that he too needed peace and quiet and someone to be responsible for him.”
He is survived by his wife, Mary Ellen Ezell of Ruston; three sons, Dr. Richard Ezell and Bobby Ezell, both of Ruston, and Lary Ezell of New Orleans; one daughter, Miss Sandra Ezell of California; his parents, Rev. and Mrs. William H. Ezell of Sedalia, Missouri; one brother, Richard Ezell of Stanbury, Missouri; one sister, Miss Catherine Ezell of Sedalia, Missouri; and two grandchildren. Not only his spiritual children by his natural family were blessed to have him as a devoted husband, father, grandfather, son and brother, his concern was always for others even to the time of his passing. Less than one hour prior to his home-going his last words were to his wife, “Please check and see if our Bobby is all right.”
His philosophy is expressed in his final report to the Board of Trustees of the Children’s Home and also in a prayer he wrote for a devotional book entitled “God’s Minute,” which begins: “Eternal God, the Creator of all this is, the father of the souls of all men, as You have loved us so may we learn to love our fellowman.”
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1974; p. 145 By Merlin W. Merrill|